Administration of general anesthesia can lead to a decrease in body temperature that can be harmful or can cause serious complications in patients. Keeping a patient’s temperature up during a surgical procedure can help decrease the risk of hypothermia, reduce bleeding, and promote a faster recovery. One popular medical device used to regulate body temperature during surgery is called the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket manufactured by 3M. The one-use disposable device uses a forced air warming system to keep a patient warm and prevent complications and the blankets are used in approximately 80 percent of hospitals across the United States, commonly during hip or knee replacement procedures.
While Bair Hugger forced air systems are successful in keeping a patient warm during orthopedic surgeries, these devices have also been associated with an increased risk of serious infections. Though the safety of this product has been questioned by medical experts, 3M continues to sell and stand behind the Bair Hugger devices and additional patients are suffering injuries on a regular basis.
Joint replacements already have a high risk of acquired infections due to possible contamination of the implant. If the Bair Hugger blows contaminated air onto the site of the surgery, the risk of infection can increase substantially. Common infections associated with the Bair Hugger include:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning regarding the possible dangers of the forced air warming systems such as the Bair Hugger. In addition, even the inventor of the Bair Hugger blanket has admitted the product is not safe due to infections and that newer warming technologies should be used instead.
Infections acquired as a result of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket can result in extensive losses for patients, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death. Many post-operative infections can be serious, especially if a patient is older or has a weakened immune system. Even for healthy patients, surgical site infections can require the following treatment and more:
When your doctor selects certain medical devices for use during surgery, you should be able to trust that these devices are safe and will not result in any unnecessary complications or injuries. Despite numerous concerns and instances of serious infections, Bair Hugger devices remain on the market and in use by hospitals. 3M should be cognizant of the serious complications that may result from its product and should be held liable for any injuries and losses caused.
The experienced defective product lawyers at Zaner Harden Law work to hold major corporations accountable for selling dangerous products that cause harm. If you believe you may have been injured by a Bair Hugger blanket, please call our office for a free consultation today.